London, 23 November, 2010: It’s a common question – what do I as a UK citizen get out of my country’s membership of the EU? In a 2009 poll, carried out by Gallup for the European Commission Representation in the UK, 83% of Britons said they knew little or nothing about the EU; while 47% were very interested or quite interested in receiving more information. The European Commission in the UK is helping to plug this gap with the launch of its new website The EU and Me (www.theeuandme.org.uk).
The new website is based on the booklet “What’s In It For Me”, which has gone through several print runs and is extremely popular among teachers and information professionals looking for information on concrete ways the EU is apparent in people’s everyday lives. The website provides an attractive, engaging and interactive environment for people to explore the issues and make up their own minds. The EU and Me (www.theeuandme.org.uk) has been developed by Cyber-Duck, who were selected after a tender process.
The new, web-based version of the “What’s In It For Me ” will keep all the information up-to-date and relevant, as well as be easily accessible by teachers, librarians and anyone else looking to learn more about the EU. The digital format also makes the whole experience more interesting and attractive, through the use of video, interactive features and games. It also means that the European Commission will be able to regularly update the information more quickly and cheaply than in print form.
Jonathan Scheele, Head of the Representation of the European Commission in the UK said of the launch: “The EU affects the daily life of UK citizens in many ways that they are not aware of. Part of the role of my team here in the UK is providing just that sort of information. With this site, we are presenting the situation as it is at the moment – it is up to the reader to make up their minds about it.”
Danny Bluestone, MD of Cyber-Duck said, “We hope that this new website proves to be a useful resource for anyone looking to find out more about the EU. The EU and Me, like all the work we do, was designed with the user in mind to enable people to interact with it in an engaging and interesting way, whilst encouraging users to share and disseminate content on their social networks.”
The site is composed of 5 main sections:
- What the EU does
This is the core of the site, which gives details and sources of further information for Travel and Working, A Fair Deal for Consumers, Food and Environment and Fighting Crime.
The EU in my area
This allows users to see case studies of EU projects in their area and local sources of information, such as Europe Direct Centres, simply by putting in their postcode. Users will also be able to navigate local EU projects via a map as well.
This section tackles some of the things that the EU doesn’t do that have entered into popular mythology. These myths range from liquefying corpses and flushing them down the drain to changing our ‘999’ as our emergency number.
This section has an interactive timeline showing some of the main dates in EU history, with photos and video. This section also provides simple explanations of who does what within the EU.
News and views
This section has a news feed from the main representation website with all EU news of relevance to UK citizens. It also has a section for subscribing to the Representation’s blog, and a chance for readers to submit their own stories.
The site integrates tools for social media such as Twitter and Facebook and has been designed to comply with guidelines on accessibility.
Cyber-Duck were involved in a competitive tender process to provide design, creation and hosting and maintenance for 1 year of the site. The site will be kept updated by existing European Commission Representation staff.